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Living Histories: Archive Projects Empower LGBTQ Iowans To Share Stories

Oral history projects based in Grinnell and Iowa City encourage LGBTQ Iowans to share their own stories, in their own words.
Daniel Sherman

History has not always been kind to LGBTQ communities.

Far too often, historical accounts of queer culture and individuals lean on writings and documents drafted from the outside, failing to authentically preserve the rich and diverse experiences of LGBTQ individuals. Aiden Bettine and AJ Lewis are working to help LGBTQ Iowans reclaim control of their legacies through two oral history and archive projects based out of Iowa City and Grinnell.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe is joined by Bettine, director of the LGBTQ Iowa Archives and Library to discuss the new organization aimed at preserving living history in the state and creating community through a new lending library and gallery space based in Iowa City. AJ Lewis also joins the program to discuss LGBT Oral Histories of Central Iowa, a student-led project at Grinnell College.


  • Aiden Bettine, director of the LGBTQ Iowa Archives and Library in Iowa City and creator of the Transgender Oral History Project of Iowa
  • AJ Lewis, assistant professor of gender, women’s and sexuality studies at Grinnell College.
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Katelyn Harrop is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa